Monday, March 30th
This morning, we woke up early to go to a training session with two international Chelsea Academy Coaches at the Surrey Sports Park.
Coaches Zach and James were recently in Korea and Hong Kong developing youth talent in Asia. They were very fun, humorous and kind. Not only were they good people, but they were very knowledgeable about the game, and used fun yet instructive, creative and useful drills during the training session. They spoke with us individually and tried to mold us into the ideal “Chelsea footballer” as they called it.
The drills were focused on a specific aspect of the game, allowing us to develop our minds and our technical ability regarding that aspect. After training, I gave each coach a Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club pin and thanked them for taking their time to help us develop into better players.
Later that day, we played a match against a team from Leatherhead called the FAB Academy. These players were playing for a top-level club that was only one step below the top-level academy players. In other words, these players were not the best from England, but they were pretty darn close.
The match started out all right with both teams starting out well and coming at each other hard. We had equal chances. Then they played a good accurate long ball over the top, and the striker took a nice touch over our advancing goalkeeper and headed it into our net for a score of 1-0. After that, our team unfortunately started to break down. Our passes were inaccurate, our clearances were sloppy and, the killer, our morale went down. We dropped our heads and they kept scoring during moments we lacked concentration.
After our subs came in, we started to play better. Our younger guys were scrappy and held the English to 4-0 until halftime. The subs started the second half strong, but then the same lack of concentration led to our opponent's chances and their goals. The game finished 7-0, but it was a good experience because it opened our eyes to the level of play here in England.
We learned a lot from this game, and either in spite or despite of the heavy loss we will come out raring to go for a good match tomorrow.
Come back for the next blog entry to see how our players did in that match.